I head off to a faculty meeting today for final approval on my Payment Systems course, formerly Commercial Paper here at St. Thomas University. So, I thought being armed with some Federal Reserve statistics could be handy or at least a conversation topic. With the multitude of payment methods available, it seems obvious that the Federal Reserve is processing less checks than it did in the past. But how much less? In 2009, commercial checks processed through the Federal Reserve dropped 10.1% (See Federal Reserve History) to a volume of 8,585 (million items). The 2010 Federal Reserve volume is also down on the year. While not the largest annual drop in recent times (a drop of 12.1% was measured in 2005), the decline does underscore the importance of alternative payment methods. Yet, the death of checks is not in sight, as the amount of checks processed by the Federal Reserve still amounted to $13,759 (billion) in 2009.
So, check processing is down, but still important.